what age should a child be able to decide if they want to eat meat?

@shiesse (308)
Canada
December 28, 2011 2:19pm CST
I have a 9 year old son how used to love meat. He was a big eater and would always ask for seconds. In the last couple months he has been refusing to eat any red meat. He says he doesn't like it when he always used to. The other day when I told him to eat his meat I caught him throwing his meat to the floor and pretending that he ate his supper. I have come to the conclusion that no matter what I would like I cannot force my child to eat something he does not like. We have made the arrangement with my son that he will still get meat on his plate, but if he doesn't like it we will not force him to eat it as long as he tries at least one bite every time. I don't know if this is the right way to handle this but have no clue what else to do. How would you deal with this sort of thing with your child? Any advise you could offer?
2 people like this
9 responses
@Galena (9124)
29 Dec 11
all the adults I know who were forced to eat everything on their plate as children have food issues. so long as he is getting enough nutrients, and not just eating junk food, then I think it's okay not to eat everything they might be offered. while I would agree that someone should try something before deciding they don't like it, I don't think that they should have to try it every time it is served to them as if to prove that they don't. just make sure their diet is healthy and balanced, and don't make too big a deal out of foods he doesn't want to eat. he may want to try them again in future, or like adults, may continue that preference throughout his life.
@shiesse (308)
• Canada
30 Dec 11
Completly true, I never thought of that but my own mother has food issues from being forced to eat certain foods. He doesn't eat much junk we try to be fairly healthy most meals, I just worry of the nutrition and protein he might lack from cutting out red meat
@Galena (9124)
30 Dec 11
there's plenty of other good sources of protein. it might be worth reading websites about a healthy vegetarian diet to get some pointers as to ways to keep his diet well balanced without including meat.
29 Dec 11
I support your child's decision. As adults we cloud our reasoning with foolish practices. If he does not want to eat meat, let him not! What's the big deal. There so many other good things to eat. Meat is now known to cause health complications and the benefits of its consumption are far fewer than the disadvantages. Let him choose his own food habits.
@shiesse (308)
• Canada
30 Dec 11
I'm thinking I will have to let go and let him choose on his own, but do want to check it with his doc first, thanks!
@nikelaz (34)
• Bulgaria
29 Dec 11
Don't force your son and he'll want to eat some meat himself. A young boy CANNOT grow up without meat.. It doesn't matter what vegetarians say.. It is just so. You will see how in a day or two after you don't force him to eat meat, your son will start eating it again. Never force a child to do something.
@shiesse (308)
• Canada
30 Dec 11
I don't think he'll start eating it on his own. It isn't all meat that he refuses to eat but most.
• United States
29 Dec 11
Since he's refusing to eat his meat even when forced, it might be wise to supplement something into his meals that will give him the same nutrients meat does, especially protein. Alternatively, you could try and come up with some dishes that integrate the meat so well into it he wouldn't even know it's there. I'm not really sure I could come up with any better solutions other than those.
@shiesse (308)
• Canada
30 Dec 11
They are pretty good suggestions anyways, I'll have to see how to substitue with him. I tried hiding meat in his meal today and he still wouldn't eat it. Maybe I didn't hide it well enough!
@MinGia (31)
• United States
28 Dec 11
Just as adults have prefrences, I believe children do also. You wouldn't force your husband nor he you to eat a dinner you didn't care for. No, I don't believe you should force your child to eat meat. Red meat isn't really even that good for you. Maybe he would prefer fish or chicken or pork. Maybe he will even become vegan. You don't have to eat meat to be healthy. I say don't force him, don't even put it on his plate, maybe a little reverse psycology will work.
@shiesse (308)
• Canada
29 Dec 11
red meat provides certain nutritional that I would not want him to not be getting, he wont eat pork either most of the time. I cant force I know but I dont think not having it on his plate will make him not want it any less
@nezavisima (7419)
• Bulgaria
28 Dec 11
what age should a child wants to eat meat an interesting question. then you have to see what your child likes to eat should not force it. each child is different each child has a different character. I think you just have to create his regime. I have my children so I made ??a diet although I only have a almost 3 years old. so I can just wish you success. nice day!
@shiesse (308)
• Canada
30 Dec 11
I just worry about his nutrition he is so skinny as it is. thanks for the good luck, I'm thinking a talk with his doctor will be the best answer
@maximax8 (27048)
8 Jan 12
Your son is old enough to know which tastes he likes and which tastes he doesn't like. You should stop him eating meat but make sure he gets other food with protein and calcium in it. You could give him more vegetables and fruit as these are healthy foods to eat. You could give him cheese and eggs instead of meat. He might like to try soya, lentils, rice and pasta. You shouldn't give your son food he hates eating. I eat a vegan diet and so do my children. Good luck.
@deebomb (15347)
• United States
1 Jan 12
Hello shiesse and welcome to myLot. The thing about kids is they go through phases. They tend to eat less when they are not growing and more when they are getting ready for a growth spurt. My kids had these growth spurt every time I bought them new jeans usually around the first of the year. Sometimes it's the texture that puts them off some foods as well as the taste. One of the worst things we tell our kids is To eat something because it is good for them or something is bad for them. We all know how good candy, cake and cookies are so when we tell them something is good for them they decide for them selves. I would be more worried about all the additive added to foods for longer shelf life and flavor enhancers. If you look at our teeth and compare them to the meat eater animals we were not made to eat meat. I'm not a veterinarian so I'm not promoting it but it's something to think about. You son can get the protein he needs from other foods such as eggs and spinach or other green vegetables. During the Great Depression of the Thirties few had the privilege of have meat on the table more than once a week if that often..
@cotruelove (1038)
• Denver, Colorado
30 Dec 11
With as many vegetarians as there are in the world, I don't think I'd worry to much about the meat he eats or doesn't. I remember my children wouldn't eat shrimp when they were about his age, but now as adults they cannot get enough of it. Perhaps he has a reason for not liking and just needs to be asked. At my age, red meat is hard to digest and gives me indigestion. My son was a food allergic child when he was young and funny thing he automatically rejected most of the foods he was allergic too. The biggest problem for him was milk and milk products. Beef was one of his allergies. Just thought about it, but our family always discussed why certain foods were rejected. I never tried to force mine to eat any particular food. The doctor never indicated they were undernourished or anemic so I more or less let them decide. However, junk food was pretty much a no no in our house. My children were never fat and actually were quite athletic and healthy other than the one having food allergies which we had to give him allergy shots for 8 years to solve.